Why choose to encapsulate your placenta?
Consumption of the placenta is also known as placentophagy. This practice dates back to ancient times and is still common in certain cultures today. The placenta is perfectly created by your body to nourish your baby during pregnancy. Placenta encapsulation allows you all the benefits of the placenta in a more palatable way.
Still not sure? Here are 4 key reasons why moms find consumption helpful.
1. The placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin which stimulates shrinking or return to a former size of the uterus.
2. The placenta also contains small amounts of oxytocin which eases birth stress and can decrease chances for postpartum depression.
3. Consuming the placenta causes the smooth muscles around the mammary cells to contract and eject milk, which means better breastmilk production.
4. Some also believe it may help with pain control and replace depleted iron.
Can you taste it?
Like many supplements, such as vitamins or herbal blends, placenta capsules have a noticeable odor but most women don’t find this to be a problem when taking their capsules. For those with a more sensitive palate, swallowing the capsules with a meal or beverage such as juice or milk might help.
You may also consider requesting flavored capsules when available.
How is my placenta prepared?
Our placentas are prepared for encapsulation using the Traditional Chinese Method. We adhere to the utmost of cleanliness and safety precautions and are OSHA compliant and have completed training in Bloodborne Pathogens & Infection Control for Placenta Encapsulators. TCM is the most common method used by placenta encapsulators. The placenta is first gently cleaned and then steamed with organic ingredients, dehydrated, ground and then placed into capsules.
Vegan capsules are available for a small extra fee.
Below are ingredients for a special herbal blend that can also be added during encapsulation for an additional small fee:
Red Raspberry Leaf (over-all recovery, bleeding), Nettles (energy, milk supply, blood loss), Fenugreek (milk supply), Blessed Thistle (milk supply), Red Clover (hormone balancing, depression), Alfalfa (milk supply, energy, blood loss), White Oak Bark (bleeding, swelling, hemorrhoids), Chamomile (pain, sleep, anxiety).
How many capsules will I receive?
The number of capsules will vary by the size of the placenta and its usable portion. In general, a placenta will be larger the longer the gestation at the time of birth. Multiples will produce more capsules than singletons. But even given that, there is a great variance in how many capsules a mom receives, though it averages between 70 and 140.
How do I get my placenta?
While it might seem daunting at first, the process of obtaining your placenta is typically fairly simple. Here are the steps we suggest taking to ensure that the process goes smoothly:
If having a hospital birth, contact your hospital to confirm that they have a placenta release form on file. Many local hospitals are accommodating due to the increasing number of requests for placenta release. If your hospital has a release form on file in L&D, obtaining your placenta following birth shouldn’t be a problem.
If you have a birth plan, make note that you will be taking your placenta home. It is also helpful to inform your care provider of your plans prior to labor during discussion.
Upon admission to the hospital, communicate your plans regarding placenta release to the L&D nurses. Your doula and/or partner can assist with this communication.
Soon after your baby’s birth, your partner and/or doula should remind the care provider about saving the placenta. It will be placed into a specimen container after the care provider has examined it. Based on our experience, we recommend keeping an eye on it to ensure that the placenta isn’t taken out of your room or accidentally disposed of. (This is one of many great reasons to hire a doula — she can also be your placenta guardian!)
If having a home birth, simply mention it to your midwife prior to birth.
What do I do with it before it is picked up?
If having a hospital birth, most L&D teams are willing to put your placenta in a bio hazard safe container and put it on ice before our arrival. Many facilities require you to bring a small cooler to store it in temporarily.
If having a home birth, it is best to double-bag your placenta in gallon-size freezer bags and then put it on ice or in the refrigerator as soon as possible.
Regardless of where you give birth, call your Placenta Encapsulator as soon as possible after delivery to arrange pick up.
When will I get my capsules?
It takes approximately 24-48 hours to from the time the encapsulation process is started until the capsules are ready. How soon we are able to start processing your placenta depends on a number of scheduling factors (whether your encapsulator has other placentas to process first, is at a birth, has prior scheduled obligations, etc.). After we receive your placenta, your completed capsules may be delivered to you as quickly as 36 hours later or as long as 4-5 days. Don't worry we will drop them off to you for convenience within a 20 mile radius.
What if the hospital wants to send my placenta to pathology?
If the reason is due to meconium, it is not a reason for your placenta to be sent to pathology or a contraindication of encapsulation. If you are told your placenta needs to go to pathology or is no longer safe for encapsulation let your OB/Midwife/nurse know that you intend to take your placenta home so you decline it being sent to pathology. In the event that there is meconium staining (your encapsulator will know by looking at your placenta) the proper protocols to prep your placenta in a safe manner will be used. Be persistent if need be. Your placenta belongs to you.
If your Group B culture (GBS) came back positive, encapsulation can proceed. All placentas are prepped in a manner that will eliminate bacteria to food safe levels. If you or your baby develop a fever and also had a Group B positive culture it is best to not encapsulate. This means you may have an infection. You can ask for a section of the placenta to be removed and tested. If it comes back negative for infections, we can proceed with the encapsulation as long as the placenta was stored properly while waiting for results.
What are placenta prints?
A Placenta Art Print is a print made from the placenta; a lifelong memento of your child’s birth. These placenta prints are made by taking the placenta, using organic natural food safe dyes and pressing it, along with the umbilical cord, onto acid-free paper. The result is a unique work of art that looks like a tree. The placenta is often called the “Tree of Life". Once the print has dried, families can frame and display it as a conversation starter, hang it in a nursery or keep it tucked away as a personal keepsake. The placenta can still be encapsulated afterwards. This service is $30. If you'd like your placenta print framed, add $25 for 11x14 framing.
What is a placenta tincture?
A tincture is an infusion of a substance into alcohol. The most well-known tincture that you most likely have in your kitchen today is vanilla extract. Vanilla beans or ground bean powder is soaked in alcohol to create a vanilla extract.
A placenta tincture is made by infusing dehydrated placenta after birth, steeping it in 80-100 proof vodka for 8 weeks which creates a long-term remedy. (The tincture is stored in a dropper bottle and is typically used after the capsules run out.) The benefits are similar to that of the capsules, and can help ease anxiety and emotional distress, reduce symptoms of PMS, and later in life can be used for menopause.
We use placenta powder to create your tincture because safety is our top priority. The placenta powder has been processed to our strict safety standards that use temperatures high enough to kill potentially harmful bacteria.
Using a piece of raw placenta to create a tincture is an approach that some who provide placenta services use. But this process puts the consumer at risk. According to USDA microbiologists, alcoholic beverages such as spirits, wine, or beer don’t kill bacteria. Marinating meat and poultry in these liquids helps tenderize and flavor the meat but does not make it safe. Only cooking to USDA recommended temperatures kills bacteria that may be present in raw meat or poultry.
You get just one chance to encapsulate your placenta. Make sure it’s done as safely as possible.
$195 for Traditional Chinese Method and regular cord keepsake. $25 for gold umbilical cord keepsake upgrade. If you'd like the cord framed in shadow box (pictured above) add $20.
There is a $40 discount when utilizing any other Naturally Nurtured Birth Services services, or if you are a repeat client just utilizing placenta encapsulation services, we offer a $25 discount (cannot be combined).
There is a $25 non-refundable retainer fee due upfront to secure your spot on our schedule. This fee will be applied to your balance at the time of pickup. We strongly encourage you to book ahead of time. However, we may be able to accommodate last-minute requests, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The fee for last minute encapsulation services (a weeks notice or less) is an additional $25 fee.
As always, the safety of our clients is our top priority. If you have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, it is highly unlikely the hospital will release your placenta. If you previously had the virus and now test negative, you can proceed with your encapsulation.
When your encapsulator arrives at the hospital, a support person is required to bring your placenta down to the lobby to meet your encapsulator. Hospitals currently are not allowing us up to the delivery or recovery room to retrieve it.
The COVID-19 virus is inactivated when it is exposed to 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes(NHC 2020). Our processing protocols far exceed temperatures which would destroy any virus present. While this is true, we do know that the live virus has not been found in blood, amniotic fluid or placenta tissues.
If you are considering encapsulation, but are still unsure of what is right for you, you can always bring your placenta home with you from the hospital and store it in your freezer until you are ready to make a final decision.
Please be advised that encapsulators at Naturally Nurtured Birth Services are not licensed health care professionals and are unable to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any health condition. Services and fees are for the preparation and encapsulation of the placenta, not the cost of the pills. Benefits will vary from person to person. No statements or research on the benefits of placenta encapsulation have been evaluated by the FDA. Placenta services are not meant to be a replacement for medical advice or prescription medicines. Choosing to consume your placenta is based on your own personal preferences and no specific benefits or effects are promised. Your placenta will be handled and encapsulated according to OSHA standards, and will been cleaned, dehydrated, and put into pill form in a sanitary work space. Upon receiving your placenta capsules, you waive any and all rights to hold NNBS responsible for any undesired effect of consuming the capsules. We also are not responsible or liable for any transport mishap that is beyond our control (e.g. car accident or detainment).